Réseau francophone de soutien professionnel

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About Réseaufranco.com

two parts of a plug connecting people and knowledge together


The Réseau francophone de soutien professionnel (RFSP) is a web site created by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for addiction and mental health primary care professionals serving francophone communities across the province. The web site is designed to emphasize usability and accessibility, in an appropriate cultural context for the French-speaking community.


Through this web site, health care professionals have 24-hour access to information on addictions and mental health, treatment and programs in Ontario, as well as materials for use with patients, families and other professionals.


Réseaufranco.com strives to improve the quality of care to the francophone community by providing access to pertinent information about mental health and addictions. This initiative facilitates communication among professionals by identifying areas of expertise that need strengthening. The site also promotes increased awareness of the interconnection between mental health and addiction issues. 


CAMH submitted an application to Health Canada through the Société Santé en français for the project’s conception and development. Funding for the project’s initial start-up was secured from the Federal Government’s Primary Health Care Transition Fund under the Official Languages Minority Communities envelope. The site was initially developed during a 16-month period (August 2005 to September 2006).


Réseaufranco.com’s objectives


A unique resource for francophones


The RFSP web site is a unique resource for francophone health care professionals, providing information relating to mental health and addictions resources, treatment and tools. A thorough needs assessment and environmental scan helped us to determine which materials needed to be translated into French and which information and tools would be developed in the future. The scan also helped us create appropriate links to other online resources.


A central information resource


The RFSP web site serves as a central source of French language information for addictions and mental health primary care professionals.  It facilitates information dissemination and sharing in order to encourage best practices in identification, diagnosis, referral, and treatment of mental health or addictions challenges. 


Cooperation among professionals


The RFSP project provides primary care professionals with a better understanding of the mental health and addictions treatment system.  The site raises awareness relating to concurrent disorders issues and ultimately eases navigation within the health care system for both professionals and clients/patients. Collaboration among agencies is an essential element in combating stigma and in enhancing wellness among members of the French-speaking community.  Réseaufranco aims to promote partnerships to this end. 


How the site’s content was decided 


In order to determine the most relevant resources to include on the site, a needs assessment was conducted in three parts:


  1. Focus groups with members of addiction and mental health primary access centres
  2. Informant interviews with key stakeholders
  3. Informant interviews with family physicians and nurse practitioners


Once the results of the needs assessment were analyzed, we established a list of priorities for existing, accessible resources and those that could be met within the project timeline. The site will continue to evolve. It is anticipated that additional features will be incorporated into future phases of the project.


Statistics relating to the francophone population


During the conception and development of the site we took into account federal government statistics relating to the francophone populations in Toronto and Ontario. According to the 2006 Census:


  • There are 53,370 francophones* in Toronto, constituting about 2 per cent of the population


* Adjusted figures obtained from special calculations produced for the Office of Francophone Affairs (OFA) by Statistics Canada.


Of this number, it is estimated that roughly 70 per cent of francophone residents in Toronto prefer to receive health services in their own language, provided they can be assured of quality care within a reasonable proximity to their home or work. (Towards a plan for the delivery for French language health services in Metropolitan Toronto, 1989).


These figures likely under-represent the actual size of the francophone population.  Many francophones in need of mental health services are found in the homeless and transient population who are mostly excluded from the census.


Population demographics for Ontario taken from www.franco.ca (originally from Statistics Canada) show that the French-speaking population in Ontario is largely comprised of adults; 76 per cent of Ontario francophones are between the ages of 20 and 64.


  • Overall in Ontario, 582,690 people state that French is their ‘mother tongue’ (2006 Census)
  • In 2006, 321,555 people in Ontario state they speak French most often at home.
  • In addition to these people, a further 202,625 Ontarians say they regularly speak French at home.
  • Currently, over 1,426,536 Ontarians have the ability to speak French – approximately 12 per cent of the population.


Francophone Immigrants


The francophone population in Ontario is comprised of immigrants and non-immigrants (see table 1). While they may share a knowledge of French and, in many cases, an inability to speak or comprehend English, these groups do not necessarily share the same values, beliefs, myths and taboos, the same way of acting, thinking and feeling towards their life experiences and towards mental illness. Culturally-informed and sensitive mental health services are therefore as important in French as they are in English.


  • There are 18,548 French-speaking immigrants in Toronto. (1996 data)
  • Recent immigration has brought significant numbers of French-speaking people to Toronto from many parts of the world other than Europe, such as Lebanon, Somalia and Congo. In addition to the language issues, differences stemming from race, customs and values are also encountered.


Table 1 : Francophone Population According to Immigrant Status
































*Source: Statistics Canada. 1996 census (sample of 20 per cent).  Special calculations produced for OAF.


Note that the 27,524 francophone immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area account for 34.7 per cent of the total francophone population.  More than one out of three francophones in the GTA was born outside Canada.


For many French-speaking refugees and their children, trauma, violence, war, expulsion and severe deprivation may have characterized their previous life experiences. While adapting to their new living environment they may require sensitive and relevant mental health care in a language they can understand. In providing services to this community, health care practitioners may include the integration of western and non-western forms of therapy, the provision of family therapy, ethnicity, and ethno-psychopharmacology.